There was expected to be just one winning team – though none knew which, despite the numerous prognostications – at the end of the Ashes, though even the predictors wouldn’t have thought about such a one-sided result in so dominating a manner.
But in what has effectively been a rout for the visitors – bar the second test at Lord’s, where they were dominant for the only time in the series – there have also come a couple of significant decisions, bringing about an unmistakable change in the continuity of Australian cricket.
First, there was the announcement of Michael Clarke stepping away from test cricket and, almost seemingly following suit, came Chris Rogers’ decision to retire from the format as well.
Incidentally, both these revelations came about in the aftermath of the fourth test, one that saw the Australian team at its nadir – one of the worst in its cricketing history. Interestingly, both players have had contrasting – and yet, in a manner of speaking, converging – careers.
Both Clarke’s and Rogers’ foray and continuance in test cricket were hugely mapped affairs. But even as the former got ample time – in hindsight, at least it seems so – Rogers’ roadmap in the format was severely restricted, delaying his start considerably.
In terms of meeting – and living up to expectations – neither player then managed to do as was expected. While Clarke’s career was marred because of recurring physical injuries alongside several bouts of inconsistent performance, Rogers set about his course by trying – and succeeding – to prove naysayers wrong about giving him a slot in the Australian test squad.
And just like Clarke, who’s compiled a staggering statistical total to follow his name, Rogers too has the numbers to prove his credentials as a bona fide test player. However for Clarke, it’s been a while since he’s been able to effect a good show on the field.
He’s not scored a half-century, let alone a century, in his past five test matches whereas for the southpaw, runs have had no problems flowing. The 37-year old has accumulated 480 runs for himself in his country’s beleaguered Ashes campaign, with a high score of 173 runs coming in the second test, at Lord’s. Adding to this, not surprisingly, Rogers is also the second highest run-getter for Australia in test cricket for this year, with a tally of 631 runs. The team-mate who’s ahead of him is Steven Smith, the man expected to take over from Clarke in a few weeks time, following the completion of the Ashes.
Thus, probably for the currently tottering Australian squad, it would perhaps be Rogers who would be more – albeit slightly – missed than Clarke.
For, in a way, Clarke’s departure was deemed to be imminent – more on the lines of being a matter of time – and the team looked to be braced for the decision, when it came about. On the contrary though, Rogers’ decision has left a void that won’t be quick enough to shore up.
Every Australian cricketer has left a unique legacy behind for the world – and the country – to recount and retell. Michael Clarke and Chris Rogers have not been any different. But their legacies will be uniquely intertwined – with the end of their respective careers coming in at a time when each is at the opposite end of cricketing fortunes, reined in by the ticking of the proverbial time.